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Cocktail Kitchen – gin!

David Bain at Cocktail Kitchen, June 9 2011.

David Bain is the bar manager and mixologist at UVA Wine Bar when he’s not competing in The Refinery's Cocktail Kitchen Series.

Whimsical English tea party vs. Beefeater gin, June 9 2011

– by Carrie Swiggum/photos by Siamak Amini

“We love gin. Well, I love gin,” said this week’s featured mixologist, David Bain, before explaining the inspiration that went into create his version of a whimsical English tea party cocktail menu.

The Cocktail Kitchen Series at The Refinery in downtown Vancouver pits 30 different bartenders against each other competing for prizes and a chance to take it all in the finals. For the last series the grand prize was a trip to Napa Valley, California; this time, a trip to Nicaragua is up for grabs.

Cocktail Kitchen at The Refinery, Vancouver, June 9 2011. Photo by Siamak Amini

It’s a twist on the Iron Chef foodie feud; the main difference being that the bartenders are competing and not the cooks. The guests rate the drinks on how well they pair their original cocktails with the featured set menu. It’s a three course meal with three different cocktails. The June theme is Whimsical English Tea Party vs. Beefeater 24 Gin, and David Bain is the second competitor this month.

The taste of rhubarb, watermelon and pepper lingered after the first pairing. Bain informed us that the fresh rhubarb in the drink had been hand-picked from the Fraser Valley. Add to that: gin, green tea, simple syrup, juniper and cracked pepper and you have a zesty, playful flavour.

Cocktail. Photo by Siamak Amini

Cocktail. Photo by Siamak Amini

A classic “sea-ness” pervaded the menu all around.

For the second course, smoked black sea salt dotted the rim of a savoury gin Mary. The spicy cocktail accompanied a green tea poached spot prawn dish served with a dollop of creamy avocado sorbet, balancing out the flavours in the dish and drink.

Guests were in high spirits by the time the third cocktail was poured. And although they easily could have, the cocktails didn’t quite steal the show. For the main course warm red quinoa salad, mixed with English peas that popped in your mouth, pea puree, pickled carrots and bacon formed the nest for a slice of Earl Grey and lavender smoked duck breast that was tender and buttery. The result was not the greasy mess that easily could have resulted from combining duck and bacon in the same dish.

Cocktail Kitchen at The Refinery, Vancouver, June 9 2011. Photo by Siamak Amini

It’s not English without Pimm’s. Given teapots full of ginger beer, guests poured their individual mini-carafe of a Pimm’s influenced concoction of gin, orange peel, cinnamon, clove spices and sugar into their teacup, which already contained a tea-infused ice cube, slice of cucumber and a mint leaf to top it off. With the addition of ginger beer, it was a complex summertime drink.

Cocktail Kitchen at The Refinery, Vancouver, June 9 2011. Photo by Siamak Amini

Don’t think you could drink three cocktails in one meal? The cocktails were mellow, and nobody seemed to be stumbling out the door.

Mixed drinks offer a chance to discover new flavours, said Bain. There is a “bigger palette to choose from in cocktails. There is a lot of choice in wine,” he said, “but not much flavour.”

This series continues until September with different bartenders and a different menu. At $35 per person, it’s an amazing deal, and a lot of fun!

Win! two tix to Cocktail Kitchen:

To enter to win two tickets to Cocktail Kitchen June 22, follow us on @guttersniped and tweet (one entry):

June is for gin! Win 2 tickets to the Cocktail Kitchen Series courtesy @theRefineryVan & @guttersniped http://bit.ly/j0Yi5L

or leave a comment below (one entry).

We’ll make the draw this Friday, June 18.

13 responses to “Cocktail Kitchen – gin!

  1. 9 years ago  

    This sounds like a great time! The drinks and the food sound amazing. I’d love to go!

  2. 9 years ago  

    I want to go to there

  3. 9 years ago  

    I’d love to attend!

  4. 9 years ago  

    Our liquor cabinet is never with gin.

  5. 9 years ago  

    WITHOUT. I meant to say “without.” Please only count this as one entry.

  6. 9 years ago  

    I love gin! This sounds super fantastic!

  7. 9 years ago  

    wow, sounds amazing!

  8. 9 years ago  

    Sounds like fun – as does anything that involves food and alcohol!

  9. 9 years ago  

    Gin is literally my favourite drink

  10. 9 years ago  

    this sounds AMAZINGGGG…hope i win!

  11. 9 years ago  

    been to refinery before. cocktails were very good. it’d be a great opportunity to other varieties of cocktails

  12. 8 years ago  

    I’m so happy to finally find a place that serves cocktails in a tea pot….I thought it was only us crazy Brits that did that! This would be the perfect way for me to feel at home in my home away from home! 🙂

  13. 8 years ago  

    Hmmm, might have to try that at home!

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